Short Interest in Webster Financial Co. (NYSE:WBS) Grows By 18.8%

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Webster Financial Co. (NYSE:WBS) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest during the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,989,000 shares, a growth of 18.8% from the July 31st total of 3,356,600 shares. Approximately 4.4% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 671,100 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.9 days.

Shares of WBS stock traded up $1.15 on Friday, hitting $49.26. The stock had a trading volume of 581,861 shares, compared to its average volume of 571,683. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.17, a P/E/G ratio of 1.49 and a beta of 1.29. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $46.78 and its 200-day moving average is $49.61. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.67, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a current ratio of 0.83. Webster Financial has a 52-week low of $42.62 and a 52-week high of $63.34.

Webster Financial (NYSE:WBS) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 18th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.02. Webster Financial had a net margin of 27.99% and a return on equity of 13.80%. The business had revenue of $317.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $312.36 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.86 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 8.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Webster Financial will post 4.11 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, August 19th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 5th were paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, August 2nd. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.25%. Webster Financial’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 42.78%.

WBS has been the subject of several recent research reports. Morgan Stanley raised shares of Webster Financial from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $51.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Monday, July 1st. Boenning Scattergood reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Webster Financial in a research report on Friday, July 19th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Webster Financial from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $49.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, July 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Webster Financial presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $56.25.

In other news, Director John Joseph Crawford sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.49, for a total value of $49,490.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 16,099 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $796,739.51. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Daniel Bley sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.45, for a total transaction of $102,900.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 18,654 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $959,748.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 4,000 shares of company stock valued at $203,670 in the last ninety days. 1.53% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in Webster Financial by 9.6% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 936,640 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $46,166,000 after buying an additional 82,053 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in shares of Webster Financial by 13.3% in the 1st quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 10,753 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $544,000 after acquiring an additional 1,262 shares during the period. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC increased its position in shares of Webster Financial by 26.9% in the 1st quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 21,500 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,089,000 after acquiring an additional 4,554 shares during the period. Texas Permanent School Fund increased its position in shares of Webster Financial by 3.8% in the 1st quarter. Texas Permanent School Fund now owns 62,662 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,175,000 after acquiring an additional 2,303 shares during the period. Finally, State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System increased its position in shares of Webster Financial by 8.7% in the 1st quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System now owns 86,984 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,407,000 after acquiring an additional 6,950 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.52% of the company’s stock.

Webster Financial Company Profile

Webster Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association that provides a range of banking, investment, and financial services to individuals, families, and businesses in the United States. It operates through three segments: Commercial Banking, HSA Bank, and Community Banking.

Further Reading: Diluted Earnings Per Share

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